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Monday, January 9, 2017

Return and explain your role in 1MDB, Guan Eng urges Jho Low

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has trained his guns on Penang-born businessman Low Taek Low or Jho Low, urging him to return to the country and explain his role in the 1MDB scandal.
Lim said 1MDB has “hurt” Malaysia very badly, and the authorities ought to cancel Jho Low’s passport.
“This would make him an international fugitive; he has to be brought home to explain the 1MDB scandal.
“If we cannot act on Najib, let’s do it with Jho Low,” said the DAP secretary-general.
Jho Low and two others, including Reza Aziz, the step-son of Prime Minister Najib Razak, were named in civil suits involving allegations of money laundering filed by the United States Department of Justice last year.
The embattled firm, a brain-child of Najib when he came to power in 2009, is currently facing probe in several countries for money laundering.
Freeze on 1MDB land stays
Lim made the remark when stating that Penang will continue to freeze 1MDB’s purchase of 234 acres of land in Air Itam, saying the state’s policy on the scandal-ridden firm has not changed.
Lim said the state will block any transaction on the land until “we see a full accounting of the 1MDB scandal".
“We will do it as long as we are in power.
“Until the government comes clean on the 1MDB, we will freeze all its land deals in Penang,” he told a press conference after attending the announcement of the state’s Chinese New Year celebration with hot air balloons, from Feb 4 to 5.
Lim reiterated his question over the peculiarity of 1MDB purchasing the land for such a huge amount of RM1.3 billion when it does not have 100 percent control of the asset.
“Doing so is scandalous; nobody will buy land from you (owner) if you do not have 100 percent control of it.
“It is considered wasted money when you spend so much to buy land when you do not have 100 percent control,” he stressed.
By this, he was referring to former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda’s “admission” in a recent interview with financial daily The Edge that 1MDB jointly owned some portions of the land with other parties.
No application for 1MDB land
Lim said, thus far, Penang has yet to receive any information or application for the said 1MDB land, which is located in Air Itam.
“However, because of this strong stance against the 1MDB land, we are being victims and punished by the federal government,” he lamented.
Lim was responding to a Singapore's Straits Times report on Sunday on the firm’s remaining assets - Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), Bandar Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur and a 94.7-hectare plot of land in Ayer Itam, Penang.
According to the report, these assets will be transferred to two Finance Ministry-owned companies, Aroma Teraju Sdn Bhd and Piramid Pertama Sdn Bhd.
The report added that the move was part of 1MDB's effort to “pare down its debt, which at its peak amounted to around RM50 billion”.
The winding up of 1MDB is being overseen by a panel dubbed the 'Budiman committee' led by Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani, the report added.- Mkini

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